Story by Lourice Angie
The Greenwood Lake Village Board at their regular meeting on Mon., Mar. 19, addressed the ongoing public hearing on the proposed short term rental Airbnb draft law. Visiting Town of Warwick Councilman Floyd DeAngelo was also in attendance at the meeting.
For nearly a year the G.L. Board has held extensive meetings on the issue of Airbnb short term rental operations. The public has received a fair opportunity to voice their opinions and comments through correspondence and attendance at the monthly meetings.
G.L. Mayor Jesse Dwyer and the Village Board have thoroughly addressed the issue and have posted updates on both the Village website and the G.L. Facebook page. In addition, the Mayor has also discussed the short term rental draft law proposal on his WTBQ radio segment.
Mayor Dwyer announced that the Board had received final comment from the G.L. Planning Board, the Orange County Planning Department, the Warwick Town Board, and the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA). The Board received comment from G.L. ZBA chairperson Diane Bramich stating that she is opposed to short term Airbnb rentals if the owner is not on the premises at the time of the rental.
Village attorney John Buckheit announced that Bramich also advised she had no objection to the Board moving forward as long as her comment was noted in the public record. The public received another chance to address the Board at the public hearing. Being that there were no comments or objections, the Village Board successfully adopted local law #1 of 2018 Chapter 116a Short Term Rental Property. The following fees apply to the new short term law: $150 initial inspection, $50 annual and renewal, up to $1,000 per day for illegally operating a short term rental, and up to $250 for failure to obtain the required inspection
New P/T Police Officer Andrew Markunas
G.L. Police Chief John Hansen introduced newly hired part time Police Officer Andrew Markunas to the Board before the start of the meeting. Markunas, a lifelong resident of Suffern, NY, is just about done with training and was originally a police officer for the Town of Wallkill.
“I thank everyone for approving my hire and look forward to working with all of you and being part of the community. I’m very excited. I like being proactive. I like communicating with residents and business owners and working all together,” said Markunas.
New Municipal Well
Mayor Dwyer announced that work on the new municipal well is progressing. He commended the work of Phil Landru and the Department of Public Works.
“We’ve hit the ideal location for water production and well integrity. We’ve got a great location that we’re going to start implementing. Right now permits are in the process and we’ve met with the DEC and DOH and everything is moving along smoothly,” said Mayor Dwyer.
The Mayor anticipates having the new well in place by late August or September. The well will be located between the G.L. Bark Park and the basketball courts. Mayor Dwyer said the new location is easily accessible and is ideal. It will be a production site that will last much longer than anywhere else and will prove to be a worthwhile investment.
The G.L. Board of Education will meet on Wed., Mar. 22 to discuss school safety. At the last Village Board meeting, Mayor Dwyer was authorized to send a unanimous endorsement that supported having armed security personnel at each of the schools including the G.L. Middle School, the Warwick High School and the Chester Academy. Trustee Katheleen Holder will represent the G.L. Village Board at the meeting to ensure that the message is relayed to the School District Board in person.
Solar at Continental Road
Mayor Dwyer and the Board discussed an interesting new concept regarding solar energy during the public workshop. There is an old lot on Village property, located on Continental Rd., which measures about 34 acres.
“We need to start looking for creative ways to start generating revenue and offsetting our costs of doing business in the municipality, for example health insurance went up 9% and costs are rising in every way imaginable,” said Dwyer.
One idea the Board is considering is to contract with a solar company to place solar panels on the vacant lot. The Board will start the process of meeting with solar companies and the DEC to determine if they can begin this energy savings project for the Village.
Emergency Alert System
Mayor Dwyer announced at the last Board meeting that he felt that the emergency alert system in the Village of Greenwood Lake was very dated and not as robust or equipped with the necessary communication tools. Dwyer was authorized by the Board to seek a new system that would stay within budget.
The Mayor was pleased to announce that the new emergency alert system is already in place and currently includes the numbers of 1,100 residents, sourced from the old system. Dwyer discussed the idea of using the new alert system to send out notifications for special events, elections, etc., in addition to emergency alerts.
The Mayor is seeking a way to send out a survey introducing the public to the new system and providing several options, allowing residents to choose which alerts they would like to receive or to opt out of the current system all together.
The Board received a letter from the G.L. Fire District pertaining to dispatching services that they found concerning on many levels. Mayor Dwyer did not get into specifics about the letter, but says they will need to learn more about the intention of dispatching services within the Village. He anticipates meeting with the fire district and will report on the discussion to the public.
Trustee Thomas Howley advised everyone to continue calling 477-9211 in case of an emergency for EMT, Police or Fire Departments. He advised residents not to change habits based on potential changes that might be made in the future.
The Board announced that the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant process through the community block grant program is now open. Mayor Dwyer said the Board has considered redeveloping the Village Hall entryway to make it more handicap accessible. The Board is looking to apply for these handicap upgrades at the doorway, the public window area and the bathrooms as well.
Upcoming Events in G.L.
There will be a forum to discuss the future G.L. Skatepark on Thurs., Mar. 29 at 6 p.m. at the G.L. Elks Lodge, located at 35 Chestnut St.
The G.L. Street Fair will be held on Sat., Jun. 9 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information call 477-2652. To download a vendor application, visit www.greenwoodlake.org.
Next Board Meeting
The next Board meeting will be held on Thurs., April. 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the Courthouse, located at 47 Waterstone Rd. There will be a public workshop from 6 to 7 p.m., followed by a public budget hearing from 7 to 7:30 p.m.